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Richard Kilgore

Tea Tasting: Kukicha Fukamushi Japanese Green Tea

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eG Society member Kyle Stewart at The Cultured Cup is contributing three Japanese green teas for tastings here in the Coffee & Tea forum. The first is a Kukicha Fukamushi.

In the interest of having tasting discussions about more teas this year while holding down my cost of shipping samples, I am now asking participating tea merchants to supply samples for three members plus me. So Kyle has provided three samples of 10 grams each that I will mail to the three eG Society members participating in this tasting.

While the tasting is open to all members who have posted at least five substantive posts in the Coffee and Tea forum, preference will be given until midnight (EDST) Tuesday to those who have not yet participated in either of the three previous tastings.

As always, everyone is welcome to participate in the discussion.

So, please PM me if you would like to receive one of the the free samples and participate in the tasting and discussion.

Here is some background information on Kukicha Fukamushi.

Kukicha Fukamushi Kukicha is made with the stems of tea leaves accumulated during the sorting process of Sencha tea production. Unlike lower grades of Kukicha, this one contains no woody twigs and the uniform stems are deep steamed to create the smooth, nectar-like finish. Lower in caffeine compared to other categories of tea, Kukicha is a great tea for any time of day.

As I have mentioned in other topics, I have known Kyle Stewart for some time now, having bought tea from his shop for many years, at least 10 years I believe it is. And for the past three years or so Kyle has been instrumental to my tea education through the T-Bar Club at The Cultured Cup. I have had many pleasant times with Kyle and his staff, trading teas and sharing new tea discoveries. More than just a tea merchant I happen to buy tea from, Kyle is a culinary friend as well as a tea friend - the wonderful tea pairings at Sharon Hage's York Street restaurant and a shared interest in Thai food with dinner at Thai-riffic.

Kyle attended the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas recently and completed his three years of training with the Speciality Tea Institute to become the first certified tea specialist in Texas.

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Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry for kukicha.

Brief Description: Popular in Japan. Taste between that of gyokuro and sencha, with a light flavour and a fresh green aroma.

PM me for one of the free samples.

eG Society member Kyle Stewart at The Cultured Cup is contributing three Japanese green teas for tastings here in the Coffee & Tea forum. The first is a Kukicha Fukamushi.

In the interest of having tasting discussions about more teas this year while holding down my cost of shipping samples, I am now asking participating tea merchants to supply samples for three members plus me. So Kyle has  provided three samples of 10 grams each that I will mail to the three eG Society members participating in this tasting.

While the tasting is open to all members who have posted at least five substantive posts in the Coffee and Tea forum, preference will be given until midnight (EDST) Tuesday to those who have not yet participated in either of the three previous tastings.

As always, everyone is welcome to participate in the discussion.

So, please PM me if you would like to receive one of the the free samples and participate in the tasting and discussion.

Here is some background information on Kukicha Fukamushi.

Kukicha Fukamushi Kukicha is made with the stems of tea leaves accumulated during the sorting process of Sencha tea production. Unlike lower grades of Kukicha, this one contains no woody twigs and the uniform stems are deep steamed to create the smooth, nectar-like finish. Lower in caffeine compared to other categories of tea, Kukicha is a great tea for any time of day.

As I have mentioned in other topics, I have known Kyle Stewart for some time now, having bought tea from his shop for many years, at least 10 years I believe it is. And for the past three years or so Kyle has been instrumental to my tea education through the T-Bar Club at The Cultured Cup. I have had many pleasant times with Kyle and his staff, trading teas and sharing new tea discoveries. More than just a tea merchant I happen to buy tea from, Kyle is a culinary friend as well as a tea friend - the wonderful tea pairings at Sharon Hage's York Street restaurant and a shared interest in Thai food with dinner at Thai-riffic.

Kyle attended the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas recently and completed his three years of training with the Speciality Tea Institute to become the first certified tea specialist in Texas.

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Interesting. As I mentioned in my foodblog, kukicha is a favorite of mine, and I highly recommend kukicha.

For those who are not familiar with Japanese terms,

kuki = stem

cha = tea

fuka = deep

mushi = streamed

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I use the water directly from the thermos, which is probably at 90C, despite the manufacturer's recommended temperature of 80C, and I brew the kukicha for a very short time of 5 seconds or so. This way, I can get strong and astringent green tea.

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Interesting. What leaf:water ratio do you use? Do you pour multiple infusions?

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Interesting. What leaf:water ratio do you use? Do you pour multiple infusions?

That's a good question! I had never bothered to measure the weight of the tea leaves (should I say tea stalks?), and I have measured it today for the very first time, and it is about 10 g. My cup is large (300 ml), thus the ratio is:

10:300 = 1:30.

My first brew is a quick one, as I previously mentioned, and my second is longer (10-20 seconds probably) to make sure that I can get all the components from the tea leaves. I dispose of the leaves after two brews. The third brew is drinkable, but can never be as good as the first or second brew.

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The three free samples of this Hukicha Fukamushi from The Cultured Cup go to the following eG Society members.

lperry

Naftal

Yajna Patni

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I got my sample today. Thank you Richard and The Cultured Cup! It's perfect tea weather too, cool and rainy.

Now I just need someone to give me specific instructions on how to brew it. :unsure: I've got the instant thermometer ready to go for the water, so now I just need to know about the brew time. How does one achieve a five-second brew? It sounds above like Hiroyuki is brewing in the drinking vessel (?) Is that with an infuser? Or can you brew in a pot and pour off the tea?

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I suggest you brew more conventionally to start. 175 degrees for 1.5 minutes, 1.5 tsp/3.5 g per 8 ounces water. You should be able to get two or three good infusions out of this by increasing the brewing time 30" - 60" each time. This should give you a cup with little astringency.

You could try that first and then adjust to your taste the next time you brew it.

Edit: spelling

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I am going to do a brew right now with those parameters and post shortly, if you would like to wait for the results.


Edited by Richard Kilgore (log)

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Okay, I have brewed it with the parameters above and think that's a reasonable place to start. If the first infusion tastes good to you, then increase the second one a little. If the first infusion was too weak, increase the second one more.

If you want to try the intensely high astringency version that Hiroyuki favors, you can use the remaining 6.5 grams in your sample in about 6.5 ounces of water at about 195 - 205 degrees for 5 seconds first infusion.

Edit: I just recalled that the sample packets are 10.5 grams rather than 10.0. I asked this amount from The Cultured Cup so that you can do three brewings of 3.5 grams each if you wish.


Edited by Richard Kilgore (log)

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I ended up doing three infusions and surprisingly liked the third the best. All at 175 degrees with a pre-heated brewing vessel (a cup) and pre-heated drinking cup (a large yunomi). 3.5 grams of leaf, and the water varied from 5 ounces to eight ounces, with the tea liquor put through a strainer into the yunomi. Infusion times of 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5 minutes.

I'll try to do another brewing tomorrow and get some photos up. I have not yet decided how I want to alter the brewing parameters. It would be great if anyone else brewing these can post some images, too.

How is it brewing for you, lperry?

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I have started another brewing session with a first infusion of two minutes in 8 ounces of 175 F water using 3.5 grams. This resulted in a richer, fuller, sweeter flavor than the 1.5 minute first infusion last night. No astringency.

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Both evenings since I received it, I've thought of the tea too late for me to drink caffeine. I put a post-it note on the fridge to remind me tomorrow morning. I'll try the traditional steeping first.

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Hello- This was an wonderful tea. It had a taste similar to my favorite chinese green teas,it was lighter in taste, but similar. I brewed a small pot western-style,and I brewed some in my gaiwan. Thanks :cool:

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Hello- This was an  wonderful tea. It had a taste similar to  my favorite chinese green teas,it was lighter in taste, but similar. I brewed a small pot western-style,and I brewed some in my gaiwan. Thanks :cool:

Can you say more, Naftal? Was their any difference between brewing in your gaiwan and brewing western style?

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Hello- This was an  wonderful tea. It had a taste similar to  my favorite chinese green teas,it was lighter in taste, but similar. I brewed a small pot western-style,and I brewed some in my gaiwan. Thanks :cool:

Can you say more, Naftal? Was their any difference between brewing in your gaiwan and brewing western style?

Hello-I guess that one could say that I brew western style in a gaiwan. One difference would be the fact that I am only brewing one cup in a Gaiwan and when I brew a pot, I am brewing more than one serving. So the actual amount of tea would differ quite a bit.Also,when I brew it in a pot I usually strain it and pour it into cups or a reserve pitcher, when I brew it in the gaiwan I drink it from the gaiwan.I did not brew it gong fu style(as might be expected since I used my gaiwan).Obviously, both tastings were similar.


Edited by Naftal (log)

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So i Finally got round to my first brewing. At first sniff the unbrewed tea smelt very rich. Not really what i would call vegetal.

I brewed just over one third in a one cup tea pot that was warmed. i used water just off the boil ad let it sit for about three minutes.

The aroma of the brewed tea was again, rich, i would say almost umami.

The tea. Not at all what i expect from green tea, but my green tea experience has been very limited. I would expect a watery very vegetal grassy taste, one that i think in my head of tasting like water that vegetables were boiled in.

THe tea itself. I am not sure of the right words to describe it. I would say hay. No tannins, again, i taste an umami edge to it. Very mellow. Not sweet, and not astringent. A very full mellow brew.

I may well do the other two brewings the same way. I liked it

Thanks Richard!

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The umami you are picking up, Yajna, is characteristic of Japanese green teas. At a recent T-Bar Club meeting at The Cultured Cup we tasted several fine green teas and several foods. The pairings with tomatoes and with Parmigiana Reggiano, among others, were wonderful.

I brewed my last third of the sample tonight in a pre-warmed Japanese kyusu teapot with 8 ounces water at 175 F. Poured into a large pre-warmed yunomi. First infusion for 2 minutes, 2: 2:30, 3: 2:30, 4: 3:00, 5: 3:30, 6: 4:00. This is just beginning to fade on the 6th infusion, so I am going to stop, but I think it has at least one more enjoyable infusion left.

I am not sure there is any magic in the inexpensive Japanese grocery market kyusu. I think the quality of this brewing session has more to do with me understanding this Kukicha a little better.

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I brewed 3.5 g in 175 degree filtered water for 1.5 minutes and poured it into a preheated cup. For the brewing vessel, I used a French press that has only been used to make tea. The color is a pretty, cloudy green. I catch hay on the aroma and something else that I can’t place – a slight funk. Maybe this is the umami discussed above? I have tried several Chinese green teas, but not Japanese. So I'm going to characterize this as a medium-bodied green taste with some astringency, but also some sweetness. The second brew is going in my travel mug in a few minutes and I'll contemplate that one in traffic.

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Second infusion: 175 degree water for 1.5 minutes. The color is a clear, light amber with a slightly green tint. The funkiness is gone, and there is very little astringency. Now I can taste, or better taste, the depth of flavor at the edge of this tea. I'm now pretty sure that is the umami. There is also an increase in sweetness. I enjoyed this cup more than the first.

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Thanks to everyone for participating in this Kukicha tea tasting and discussion. And thanks to Kyle Stewart at The Cultured Cup for providing the samples of this high quality steamed green tea.

Kyle is providing free samples for two more tasting discussions of Japanese Green Teas, so you may want to subscribe to the Coffee and Tea forum so you don't miss it.

We have also begun a new Tasting Discussion of an outstanding Assam from Bill Waddington at Tea Source.

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I have a general question about the 175 degree temperature for brewing this tea. I have always brewed green teas at about 190 degrees for reasons that escape me. I must have read somewhere that this is the "correct" temperature. I have now been trying the two other green teas I have at 175 degrees, and I get more astringency coming out than before at the higher temperature. Does hotter water destroy this flavor? (Is it the tannin?)

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Somewhere near 175 is the usual recommendation for green teas, but what suits your taste is what's most important.

That said, I am curious about the two green teas you are trying at 175 and 190. What are they and how long have you had them? Did you get the same differences with this Kukicha at the two temps?

I'll do a little digging and give this more thought tonight.

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